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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2006  
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Contents >> Chapter 24 - Environment >> Australia's greenhouse gas emissions

AUSTRALIA'S GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

On 16 February 2005 the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty designed to slow down global warming by lowering greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) came into effect. Although the Australian Government has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, it had previously committed (December 1997, Kyoto Conference of the Parties) to limiting Australia's greenhouse gas emissions growth to 108% of its 1990 baseline. Effectively, this equates to a 30% target reduction of emissions from the 'business as usual' projection (Parliament of Australia 2002).

To give effect to the Kyoto commitment the Australian Government, in November 1997, released the policy statement - Safeguarding the Future: Australia's Response to Climate Change. A package of measures was introduced in the statement including the establishment of the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO), renewable energy initiatives, energy market reforms, tree planting and revegetation. It also led to the establishment of the Greenhouse Challenge Program, a voluntary industry/government program designed to reduce GHG. This was followed by the release in November 1998 of the Australian Government's National Greenhouse Response Strategy which set out abatement strategies for the key sectors and provided the framework for advancing Australia's domestic greenhouse response into the next (21st) century. More information can be obtained from the web site <http://www.greenhouse.gov.au>.

While Australia is a relatively small overall contributor to global GHG, accounting for around 1.4% of global emissions, its emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas per person, are among the highest in the world. In 2002 about 17.36 tonnes of CO2 were emitted for every Australian. Only the United States of America (USA), among the members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), had a higher rate of emissions of CO2 per person (graph 24.22) (International Energy Agency 2004).

Graph 24.22: CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS PER PERSON, Selected countries - 2002


Australia's large emissions per person can be attributed to three factors: the high usage of coal in electricity generation; the high dependence on car travel for urban transport, and road freight for haulage; and the aluminium smelting sector.


Table 24.23 shows the change in GHG on a sectoral basis over the period 1990 to 2003. In 2003, Australia's total greenhouse emissions were estimated at 550.1 megatonne (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). This represented an increase of 25.6 Mt of CO2-e (4.9%) between 1990 and 2003. The major source of emissions was the energy sector which accounted for 68% of total national emissions in 2003. Energy industries (including power stations) were the largest contributor, accounting for 38% of total national emissions with transport contributing a further 14.5%. Over the period 1990-2003 emissions from the energy sector increased by 31%. This trend is likely to continue with emissions expected to grow by over 39% (119 Mt CO2-e) between 1990 and 2010 (AGO 2005a).

Emissions from the land use and forestry sector declined by 67% from 106.6 Mt CO2-e in 1993 to 34.9 Mt CO2-e in 2003. This decline reflects the greenhouse sink offset of mainly the forestry subsector.

24.23 GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, By sector

Emissions (CO2-e)
Change from 1990 to 2003


1990
2003


Amount
Contribution to national emissions
Amount
Contribution to national emissions
Mt
%
Mt
%
Mt
%

Energy
286.0
54.5
374.3
68.0
88.3
30.9
Fuel combustion (sectoral approach)
257.3
49.1
347.9
63.2
90.6
35.2
Energy industries
142.3
27.1
209.2
38.0
66.9
47.0
Manufacturing industries and construction
37.6
7.2
39.4
7.2
1.8
4.8
Transport
61.9
11.8
79.8
14.5
17.9
28.9
Other sectors
15.5
3.0
19.5
3.5
4.0
25.8
Fugitive emissions from fuels
28.8
5.5
26.4
4.8
-2.4
8.3
Solid fuel
15.8
3.0
16.5
3.0
0.7
4.4
Oil and natural gas
12.9
2.5
9.9
1.8
-3.0
23.3
Industrial processes
28.0
5.3
32.3
5.9
4.3
15.4
Mineral products
4.8
0.9
5.4
1.0
0.6
12.5
Metal production
18.7
3.6
15.4
2.8
-3.3
17.6
Other
4.5
0.9
11.5
2.1
7.0
155.6
Agriculture
93.5
17.8
97.3
17.7
3.8
4.1
Land-use change and forestry
106.6
20.3
34.9
6.3
-71.7
67.3
Waste
10.3
2.0
11.4
2.1
1.1
10.7
Total emissions/removals
524.5
100.0
550.1
100.0
25.6
4.9

Source: AGO 2005a.


Graph 24.24 shows state and territory shares of national emissions in 2002. New South Wales (28%), Queensland (27%) and Victoria (22%) accounted for nearly 80% of Australia's net emissions. Western Australia contributed 13%, South Australia 6%, the Northern Territory 3% and Tasmania 1%. The Australian Capital Territory contributed less than one per cent but this was only a partial inventory (AGO 2005b).

Graph 24.24: GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, State and territory shares - 2002


Table 24.25 provides details of state and territory greenhouse gas emissions in 2002 classified by sector.

24.25 GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS(a) - 2002

Sectors/key subsectors
NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.
Mt
Mt
Mt
Mt
Mt
Mt
Mt
Mt

Energy
107.1
99.0
80.9
24.8
3.9
5.8
1.1
370.1
Stationary
71.2
77.2
58.8
13.8
2.2
4.0
(b)
262.4
Energy industries
59.5
64.2
46.9
10.2
0.1
1.5
(b)
203.4
Electricity generation
56.4
60.3
44.1
8.1
0.1
1.5
(b)
185.0
Other energy industries
3.1
3.9
2.9
2.2
-
-
(b)
18.5
Manufacturing and construction
7.2
5.0
9.8
2.2
1.8
2.1
(b)
39.6
Transport
22.6
19.3
16.8
5.8
1.6
1.4
1.1
77.5
Other sectors
4.5
8.0
2.1
1.3
0.4
0.4
(b)
19.3
Fugitive emissions from fuels
13.4
2.5
5.3
5.2
-
0.3
-
30.2
Industrial processes
12.5
2.2
4.4
2.2
1.0
-
-
26.4
Agriculture
22.0
15.8
30.0
6.2
2.0
10.8
(b)
105.6
Livestock
15.7
12.2
24.9
4.1
1.6
2.7
(b)
67.6
Other agriculture
6.2
3.6
5.1
2.1
0.4
8.1
(b)
38.0
Land-use change and forestry
6.4
-2.4
27.7
-3.2
-
0.5
-0.1
29.2
Afforestation and reforestation
-1.0
-4.5
-0.2
-1.8
-1.4
-0.1
-0.1
-13.0
Land-use change (deforestation)
7.5
2.0
27.9
-1.5
1.4
0.6
-
42.1
Waste
3.5
2.4
2.1
0.5
0.3
0.1
0.1
10.5
Other
. .
. .
. .
0.4
. .
0.4
. .
. .
Total net emissions
151.5
117.0
145.1
30.9
7.2
17.7
1.3
541.8

(a) Emission estimates are made on Kyoto accounting basis. State and territory estimates do not sum to national estimates because military transport emissions are included in national estimates and not in states and territories.
(b) The NSW emissions includes ACT emissions from the stationary energy and agriculture sectors. The ACT inventory includes emissions from the transport, fugitive emissions, industrial processes, forestry (afforestation and reforestation) and waste sectors.

Source: AGO 2005b.


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